Websites change and grow right alongside the organizations they serve. Over time, your content library gets bigger, and more voices have input and interest.
But this growth can present big challenges. Can your web team handle the company-wide input without becoming a bottleneck? How do you maintain a consistent voice and design? Are there technologies that can help with the process?
As your website grows and becomes more important to your stakeholders, it becomes even more important to have an optimized workflow.
1. Delegate Content Creation
To eliminate workflow bottlenecks, you will eventually need to pass content creation onto others. But this doesn’t mean losing control or quality! On the contrary, more individual voices can humanize your content, and give you more time to focus on strategy.
As you start to include others in creating content, be sure to set up user permissions and workflow systems that give the right amount of control without being overly restrictive. This may take some time to get right, but will be worth it in the end.
Depending on your content management system, there are tools for managing the content creation and approval process. Here are some possibilities:
Editorial Workflow Plugins for WordPress
And for Craft CMS, there’s the Workflow Plugin.
2. Cast Vision
It can be notoriously difficult to get content from outside the web/marketing team. If you hope to bring in the voices of these team members, take time to discover their existing goals to identify where they might overlap with yours.
Do interviews to ask them what content areas are important to them and where their creative skills lie. And, be creative about how to involve them — not everyone will want to write long-form posts! The best format might be something like an interview, top-ten list, or Instagram story takeover.
3. Use a Staging Site
A staging site is a hidden, carbon copy of your live “production” website. A staging site will give you a central place to preview and test new features — a must for any site where iterative changes are common and lots of outside input is needed. Outside of design and functionality changes, a staging site can be a great way to preview content for those who don’t have CMS access.
4. Use Technology for Quality Control
Over time, design and functionality can suffer as your site grows. Rather than relying exclusively on people and processes to mitigate this, here are three tech solutions that can help:
Use Custom Fields
Ask your developers to set up custom fields so that people have helpful boundaries in place for formatting. Then, keep track of where your fields aren’t serving your needs and fix these periodically.
Make Your CMS Generate Image Sizes
This may sound basic, but it’s rarely implemented well. Instead of relying on your users to remember all the right image sizes, platforms like WordPress can resize and crop images automatically (or give users options). You’ll save time, and improve site load-time simultaneously.
Use CMS Error Reporting
Many website platforms allow you to set up pre-determined requirements for content, and then report any problems to users before they’re allowed to submit content. Some basic safeguards like this can help squash bugs before they show up.
As a website manager, a growing website doesn’t have to increase your stress or frustration. We recommend identifying one or two of these “important but not urgent” tasks each month, and tackling them. You’ll be on your way to a smoother, more efficient workflow in no time.
Did we mention that we can help?
Whether you’re after technical help, strategic advice, or just don’t have time to tackle improvements like these, we’re here for you. Please reach out. We’d love to start a conversation.